Former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light -- who will become the fifth Patriots player honored at a halftime ceremony at Gillette Stadium tonight -- was on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio this morning to talk about tonight's matchup.
"It's going to be a dog fight," said Light. "Here in New England it's been one of those years where it's mix and match 'em up front (on the offensive line) and who's going to be available, who's not going to be available. This offensive line has a chance to go out there and have all five of the guys who started the season healthy and able to play."
The Patriots have had more than their fair share of injuries along the offensive line this season but for the most part have held up well despite the setbacks. Protecting Tom Brady will be particularly important tonight against an aggressive Texans defense that includes perhaps the best pass rusher in the game, J.J. Watt (16.5 sacks and 15 passes defended).
Offensive linemen Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, Dan Collolly and Nick McDonald are all listed as questionable. In his projection of tonight's inactive players, ESPNBoston.com's Field Yates predicts all of the above will be suited up except for Connolly. If that's the case, the O-line will be as complete as it's been in a while.
"I don't have a crystal ball and trust me, they don't give me whole a lot of information," said Light, who spent 10 years protecting Brady's blind side. "But if it's possible, that's going to go a long way in helping those guys up front deal with a Houston defense that's very, very dynamic. They thrive on the big play."
Light also reflected on what tonight's halftime ceremony will mean for him.
"The first thing that comes to mind is all the guys who have been in this position before," he said. "When you look at the careers of Ted Johnson or Troy Brown or Kevin Faulk or Tedy Bruschi, the guys that have played their entire careers here, that's really special. I think about the leadership that was in the locker room for those guys and just to be considered among those guys is really going to be special tonight."